7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself if You Don’t Complain!

It’s National Consumer week. A good time to ask “Why Complain?”

Because it’s fun! Well it is. Nothing the British like more than a good complain. Or is it a moan? Well there’s the difference I feel. Complaining effectively gets results and it is about consumer rights. Your rights as a consumer.

The other week someone was in the Daily Fail and on a few radio stations talking about complaining and getting results. Good on her. But you know what? On the Daily Fail article, lots of people had posted that she should “get a life” and other similar insults along the lines of having nothing better to do. Now, there are two fundamental issues here. 1) To the people who say she should get a life (and presumably people like her?) do you have nothing better to do than post insults on the Internet? Touche! You get nothing from that except perhaps some perverted satisfaction. 2) In the time you took to write that she/I/ and probably many others sent an email or tweeted a company to complain about something and got redress. Now who is wasting their time I wonder?

I don’t waste time looking for things to complain about. I don’t waste time complaining about trivial things (oh ok sometimes just for a laugh but rarely) and I don’t make up complaints. So don’t accuse me of doing so. What I do do, is if a company has wasted my time, I complain about it and gain redress so my time is paid for. If I purchase something that is faulty I complain about it and I assert my legal rights. Often this means NOT accepting a replacement but getting my money back.

So, to those of you who accuse the complainers of wasting their life, making things up and only after freebies I ask you these questions.

1) If you have a bad meal do you just accept it? You do? FOOL. You legally don’t have to accept it. Rather than causing a scene or complaining in writing later you think just putting it down to bad luck makes you better than the complainer? Really? I complain – I get a voucher and I go back. Win win situation for restaurant and me. Your way, you don’t go back, lose lose or is that just “LOSER”?!

2) If you buy something faulty do you keep it? WHY?! Do you take it back and get a replacement when you don’t trust the product any more and you’d like to buy a different one but you accept it because you don’t want to assert your legal rights or perhaps you don’t know them? I buy something faulty I get my money back, buy what I want and get redress on top if I have been inconvenienced in anyway or if anything else has been damaged in the process of using the item. How is that wasting my time or not having a life? I ‘ve improved it. You are stuck with something you don’t want.

3) You say you don’t have time to complain? No, I don’t really, but that’s why I claim for my time. Simples.

Only once have I ever thought I would rather not have had to complain. I let out my flat and about 3 years ago a washing machine leaked in the flat above. Twice! My tenant was basically without a usable kitchen for 18 months. I was lucky he didn’t leave. AVIVA staff were appalling as were the contractors to do the work. The printed off email correspondence was over an inch thick. I think I’d still be getting the work done now if I hadn’t had to complain nearly every day. I did get about £800 and I have no idea what that works out as an hourly rate, but even I would rather have just had good service!

Still want to insult the complainers? Need more convincing?

4) Don’t you want to improve things for other people? Are you selfish? Many of my complaints have resulted in companies changing policies, the way they do things, retraining staff etc. That improves service to all. I am undertaking a public service I feel! Look at what Chris has achieved through his dreadful experience. Three years on and at last Scottish Provident is making changes. He continued his complaining even after eventually receiving redress. If you use life cover in the future with any company, you look at that article and thank him!

There are more examples of how complaining and spreading the word helps too!

5) Are you a man/woman of principle? Look at my taking Tesco to court. Now, some people think it was a poor return for the money. It was the principle of the thing!! They took my money! In fact the legal process was very quick, it was trying to sort it before that took the time! I’ve had lots of people say they had problems with the Tesco vouchers and they just let it go. Hopefully now, after raising the profile of consumer power people will come to me if it happens again this Christmas. Then, I’ll put the case together and they can all go as one case, time saved, money back. I wonder just how many people lost money last year and didn’t complain? Do you think that’s right? It’s okay for a large company to make money from people who can’t won’t complain? I flipping well don’t and you can call me all the names under the sun, I think I was right to do what I did.

Then there’s the hobby…

6) I won’t deny it, it’s fun! When I’m doing the actual complaining I’m frequently quite annoyed (hence as in my tips I rarely doing it in person) but I know I’ll get redress, often it’s of interest guesstimating how much I will get and whether I will be complaining again about their reply. So, call it a hobby, just like writing up my complaints on here is,(which incidentally is sharing experience and advice so helps people!) like any blog writer. So, a hobby. Do you have a hobby? My hobby takes up a little time and costs me no money. I don’t do sport, it avoids sporting injuries. But I don’t have a go at people for their hobbies so don’t have a go at me for mine I say!

Still think I’m the fool for complaining?

7) Would you want people to have poor NHS care? My father was in hospital for 6 weeks just over two years ago before he died. The treatment he received was appalling. I didn’t want any family to go through what we did or any patient to endure what he did. At times like that people don’t want to complain. That is understandable and I get that, but I wanted to change things for other people. This wasn’t about asserting legal rights, getting money or anything like that. It was about making change happen. I wrote 8 pages of 48 bullet points about his care and a 2 page letter to go with the log. I received back a 7 page letter. This is copied from the letter they sent:

“In conclusion the following will or has been addressed:
Share the complaint with the ward
Review how pain control is managed including training
Review documentation
Arrange training on oral care
Ensure staff know the procedure on escalation if patient dependency is higher than staffing levels can manage
The requirement to inform relatives if a patient falls
Ensure staff work with patients/relatives to complete adult  assessment forms
Improve communication on the ward”

Often people say all they want is an apology. That is very true and we got a lot of sincere apologies in that letter too.

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So, complainers don’t have a life, are sad, have too much time on their hands? You remember that when you have your bad meal, had to fork out for a bad service, are stuck with a faulty item and you are out of pocket for something. You remember that when you are able to get a decent life cover policy. You remember that when your Tesco vouchers work this year. You remember that when you have an elderly relative in a hospital in Somerset where the care was good. Perhaps it was because someone took the time to tell the powers that be of problems that they didn’t know about so they could put them right.

So, who still thinks they are better for not complaining? Would love to hear your reasons for not doing any of the above that I and people like me have done. I love a good argument. Provide a good argument for not complaining in the way I do and I’ll publish it. (But don’t think I won’t argue with you!) Alternatively, join in sharing your successes, that’s what I like to see!

Need help? GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

The Complaining Cow v Tesco #TescoFail!

Oi! Don’t just jump to the bottom to see if I won! There will be a test later you know to see if you read it all!

Let’s start the post with a great big sigh. *Sighs. Most people who ever shopped at Tesco will share my frustration. Actually I didn’t realise just how many until I took to Twitter and looked at the @Tesco timeline!

Yet More Reasons to Avoid Tesco
Yet More Reasons to Avoid Tesco

Okay so where to start. Well, unless you are some rich person who doesn’t live on the same planet as the rest of us, (in which case thank you Mr Cameron and colleagues for taking the time out of working out how to cut even more payment to the most needy so that they can’t afford to live and therefore die and become less of a burden to the tax payer, (I mean that is the theory isn’t it?) to read my Blog) you will know that Tesco provide reward vouchers for spending in their shop. More if you use their credit card.  Every so often it is double up rewards time. Great. Nope. Why? Because most of these double up vouchers people tried to use on the TescoDirect website. Oh how efficient. Wrong again. Why? Because the website was utterly flawed.

So, I start my sorry tale back on the 20th November. The system said items were in stock, got to checkout they were not. I emailed and said this was failure of their site. I had cashed in vouchers that if not spent by the 13th December would be lost! I got the vouchers to buy something that once at the checkout (i.e. after you get your vouchers!) I couldn’t use! They would not refund if the items didn’t come back in stock. Personally I do not think that is fair do you?

So I spent them. Later I tried a million times (ok a slight exaggeration, maybe hundreds of thousands) to process my vouchers on £80 worth of items.  I got this message “Sorry, we cannot place your order at the moment. We’re trying to fix the problem as soon as possible. Please try again later.” So fed up was I that I telephoned. That’s how annoyed I was. I hate telephoning complaints! The automated answering message informed me that they had had problems on the site and they were resolved. They were not and as was quite clear from the @UKTesco Twitter timeline, remained. Whilst waiting to try again on the line the line was cut off. Now, I wasn’t even speaking so it wasn’t me being rude! So I emailed. I got a response to say that the technical team were looking into it. I emailed back saying still a problem and expected redress as the time spent on the matter amounted to more than any savings from using the vouchers.

I got an email back saying that I would receive a goodwill gesture. (I believe that many gestures followed and none of them were goodwill ones). Charlotte told me that if I couldn’t use the vouchers then pay and she would refund on receipt of the voucher codes. So I duly tried again leaving the system for 24 hours. This time it was a different error. It accepted some of the codes. So I just paid for the full amount and emailed Charlotte. This was now the 26th November.

Now Tesco had my money. Actually it had the £80 plus £40 of vouchers which doubled up were £80 and those couldn’t be used. So I told Charlotte this and of course Charlotte just responded saying okay just let her have the voucher codes. No, it went unanswered. I forwarded it 2 days later stating that I would go to Trading Standards for breach of the Consumer Act for unfair trading and the Sale of Goods Act 1994 as amended for not honouring a contract. So that obviously got an answer. Nope. Emailed the following day saying that papers were ready to go the Small Claims Court. So of course I got a response then when they knew what I was talking about? Nope.

So I wrote to the CEO. Now, if you’ve read my other post about Tesco then you will know that I knew I wouldn’t get a response. So I did actually start the email with “Obviously this is a pointless email because you have demonstrated incredible contempt for your customers and this attitude it would appear is reflected all the way down the store and I see in your profits. There is a slight chance that someone in the Executive Office might see this though and save me the time and trouble of going to Trading Standards and the Small Claims Court”. I know I advise not using sarcasm but some people just really seriously try my patience.

Obviously no response.  So I took to Twitter. @UKTesco offered to help. Great. Nope. As I have now learnt from chatting to many people who complain to @UKTesco you get standard responses, delay tactics and no actual resolution. (Mind you look at this lack of security for Tesco customers that the Tesco Twitter team revealed). To cut a long story short, @UKTesco said Charlotte was waiting for the voucher codes. Huh? Yes. It would appear that she didn’t think it appropriate to respond to 3 emails to her to ask me for them even if it was “again”. Look how many times I tweeted the same thing to @UKTesco as I bored many of my followers! At first I refused, demanding the courtesy of a response. That tweet went ignored. (All very rude and not the done thing on Twitter at the best of times never mind being the face of a large company). So I said I would do it their way and sent Charlotte the codes. So, of course, I did what they requested and I had a response. Nope.  I tweeted @UKTesco, I said hello I’ve done it. I rt’d their response that they would look into it the following day when they still hadn’t got back to me. I asked if they were ignoring me. I didn’t get a response so take that a yes then! The last tweet they sent me said they would get back to me. They didn’t.

So there was nothing left for it. The Small Claims Court. I love it, the time consuming bit is over and it takes very little time to fill out a form. £25.

Small Claims Court Confirmation
Small Claims Court Confirmation

So over Christmas I took ‘em to court. All online, easy peasey £25 . Their defence was, shall we say non existent? I quote “That the defendant has been unable to use the vouchers is neither accepted nor denied” Eh what? Even better “The Defendant has no knowledge of any problems with these vouchers, as long as the claimant was using the correct process..” Copies of 3 emails saying there were problems, automated error message on their site and  implementing an automated telephone message saying that there was a problem meant…?

So, a week before the 6th June they tried to negotiate. Obviously. They were gonna lose. I knew this. First off they didn’t even offer me the court fee! Asked for more got the court fee and a few quid extra and you know what? Sod ‘em, that’s what I thought! They know they will lose I know I will win, who else will take on these giants it’s up to me to show Tesco that the humble shopper will not be treated in this way. “See you in court” said me.

But I didn’t ‘cos they didn’t turn up. Well obviously it wasn’t worth their while, they knew they were going to lose. So suited and booted (well sandals actually the sun was shining) I sat before Judge Vokes. He told me that he couldn’t see how I was owed any more than the £80 and court fee. Uh oh, Uh oh Uh oh, panic panic I’m a gonna lose I thought! “They told me in writing that they would give me a goodwill gesture” I said. “Not legally binding” said Judge Vokes. Oh I was going off this guy. “Sale of Goods Act… Supply of Goods and Services Act….” said I. “”Technical babble about vouchers and stuff” said the judge. I was really going off this guy now. Hmmmm “I thought it was important that the single person should make a stand against a big company like Tesco and make people realise that they can stand up to organisations treating customers with contempt” I tried. The judge gave me a big big smile nodded and said “Well done”. I was warming to him now. I wish I had taken a photo. “Although the goodwill gesture is not legally binding I can deem Tesco as being unreasonable and therefore award you £80 refund, £11 for expenses, and £50 for time. Total of £166”. I seriously liked Judge Vokes big time now. I’d done it. I’d won.

Now, what I want to know is, will I get Clubcard points with that? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let them not pay up in 14 days. I can send in the court bailiffs to sieze goods to the value of £166…… I’ll be picking up all the offers to get my money’s worth ‘an all!

I wanted to ask the Judge if he thought Tesco should employ me to reduce their level of complaints and increase their sales but thought better of it, thanked him for him time and bought some chocolate from Sainsburys across the road from the court and not the Tesco Express next door!

In short. I won. Many many hours of time on the matter and 7 months after the event, was it worth it? I think it was the principle of the thing! Would you have done it? Would you have let Tesco get away with keeping your £80 or would you have taken them to court?

June 21st update – payment not received watch this space for what I intend to do about that…

Update 09/07/13

Update 23/07/13

Links to all Tesco posts and contact details

Film made for Citizens Advice Bureau on the importance of complaining and taking companies to court if necessary

Don’t Make These Top 10 Twitter Etiquette Mistakes!

Those who know me, know that I am big on manners. People who don’t say thank you for presents or the time you give #Rude. People who don’t let you know they aren’t coming when you’ve made arrangements. #Rude. People who say they will ring and don’t. #Rude. People who don’t say thankyou when given their change at the shop. #Rude. People who don’t say thank you when a car driver lets them cross at the Zebra crossing. #Rude. Now, other than that last one I practice what I preach. If I don’t, if I’ve forgotten somewhere to say thank you then pick me up on it. I’ve worked with people who drove me mad because they were wholly incapable of saying “Please”, “Thank you” or equally important “Sorry”, but expected everyone around them to be flexible and do things for them. Even been known to get into grievance territory because of it! In my personal life I recently cut someone out of my life who although purported to have the same standards failed on many levels many times and was extended to being rude to my family which was the final straw.

So, I could write a book about people’s bad manners and individuals. But now I have a new bug bear. Twitter. People are rude on there and frankly, stupid. Don’t you find the same? As I write this I have 1600 followers and I expect a few people to read this and unfollow me! I’ll probably be down to 20! But I do know that many of my followers agree with me. I tweeted asking what people thought was rude on Twitter and some strong opinion came through!

Good Manners Extend to Twitter!
Good Manners Extend to Twitter!

The rudeness that annoyed me to start off the research and post was the ignorance of so many people who I directly tweeted to say that I had linked to their page. Not one person, not one tweeted back to say “Thank you”, never mind look at the page or do a reciprocal! I would take the link off the page but as all the links are to useful websites providing all the discount places in one place and I use it as quick and easy reference as of course do you! But let’s just name them. Topcashback, SavvyMummys, Groupon, Wowcher, Sir Savealot and Living Social. I followed them all and one or two even followed me and yet nothing. #Rude. If @Martinslewis can respond to individuals and he does, often AND sets up times to do Q & A then so can they with 10s of thousands fewer followers tweeting them for a reply! Then there was someone I followed whose Bio said they were interested in good and bad PR. (Quite! A blog right up their street! Nope, no response so he just got an unfollow). Many of my followers waded in here too saying that celebs are as rude. I’m not so sure, depends on how many tweets they get and certainly some celebs do respond and I do think when asking a reasonable question as I did  it is not unreasonable to expect a reply.

People #ff 5 people in a tweet. Those 5 people RT it? Why? That is not just rude it’s STUPID. Idiots are RTing to people who already follow them. Huh? D’oh! Oh perhaps they think ah this kind person has #ff me so I should follow the others in that list. Nope. The amount of people who I have seen RT a #ff list which I am in and don’t follow so what is the point in RTing? Seriously? Just say thankyou. Perhaps it’s laziness as well as stupidity and rudeness?!

Just listing names in #ff that’s rude as well. I don’t always do them but when I do, I personalise them and say why people should follow them. Respectful to them and my other followers.

DMs or tweets telling me to look at your website. No I won’t. Why should I when you haven’t engaged in conversation with me? Call them out on it that’s what I say! Many times I’ve dm’d back and said you look at my blog and let me know what you think. But usually one can’t dm back because they set up their auto dms but don’t follow back so one can’t dm! I’ve taken to doing it openly now saying “Can’t dm you back to your auto dm telling me to look at xyz you might like to look at my site etc.” Not one has done but they expect me to look at theirs. Sometimes it gets a response because I put a “.” before the “@” so all my followers see it so they try and make amends! But mostly they are foolish and don’t respond and get an unfollow! Not good business sunshine, usually gets you an unfollow as well!

People telling me to go and follow someone else. Fine if you give me a reason and do it as a #ff. But no, some fools think that I will go follow someone because s/he has told me to do so. The person telling me (not asking!) to follow doesn’t even follow me. That doesn’t get an unfollow that gets a block and quite often a “report as a spammer”!

Here’s an odd one. One of my lovely followers asked me what I thought about people joining in other people’s conversations on Twitter. I thought here we go I’ve probably done it to her and she’s going to tell me I’m rude. So I said Twitter is open DM for private conversations. But no, it was ridiculous, in a matter of a couple of weeks someone had told her not to join in a private conversation and a follower of hers was told the same AND blocked. That’s just rudeness and stupidity on a big scale. Twitter is SOCIAL. Get it? If it’s private dm it. Simple. I meant to go and follow the culprits and deliberately get involved in a conversation but I forgot, but I may still do if just in the name of research for another post you understand, not just pure bloody mindedness. Ahem.

People who directly ask me to RT their tweets. I don’t really have a problem with that. I do however think it’s rude when I’ve RT’d for them without being asked and they’ve done nowt for me!

People who just tweet links to their own site and are just self promoting that is so boring why would I want to follow you? If your site is so great I’ll look at it regularly anyway. Twitter is a Social network so those people get unfollowed too!

People who send automatic dms saying “Thankyou for the follow now go and look at xyz” NO. I’ll just go back and unfollow you actually. You want to thank me for following do it with an “@” because that may start a conversation. BECAUSE TWITTER IS SOCIAL. Get it yet? Trying to sell before anything else is rude. It is also bad business sense. Soon as you meet someone at a network event do you go straight in for the sell? (Bet you sell very little if you do!) Don’t do it on Twitter.

The percentage of people visiting blogs who leave comments is very very low. I recently engaged in conversation with someone on Twitter, left a good chunk of comment on her blog and she didn’t follow back. A mutual friend had put us both in a #ff that day too. She got an unfollow a few days later! Someone is good enough to leave a comment on your blog you follow them back to say thank you! Same with helping people out with advice. Don’t get their advice and then not follow them. #Rude!

On the 14th March 2014 I would like to add something. I don’t mind helping people out on Twitter I really don’t, it’s what it’s all about and I do it on an almost daily basis. I object however to the person who follows me gets loads of help then unfollows.  I just challenged someone who only follows about 150 people and says that he unfollowed because he was following too many people. Twaddle.  There will be other people he doesn’t interact with and you can make lists and that is just unnecessary and rude frankly. So you know what? You get blocked, I will spend the time helping someone with manners. Know what else? I don’t care If you have shed loads of money and want to pay for loads of my services, if you are rude you can go take a running jump. 🙂 I won’t get rich but I’ll enjoy chatting with the people with whom I work.

I’d like to say don’t use bad grammar but that’s impossible given the character restriction and as you can tell being succinct is my difficulty…

So in short:

1)      If people tweet you directly have the courtesy of tweeting them back
2)      Don’t RT #FF
3)      Explain your #FF
4)      Don’t DM telling people to do things unless you have engaged with them
5)      If you want someone to follow your mate at least follow that someone first and use the #ff convention
6)      It is NOT rude to join in a conversation on Twitter
7)      Make sure you have rt’d for someone before asking them to do something for you and/or at least follow them!
8)      Don’t self promote all day every day
9)      Don’t send DM’s trying to sell soon as someone follows you
10)    Follow people who follow you and go the extra mile for you!

So, go and unfollow me if you don’t like my standards!! Alternatively if you agree follow me @complainingcow and of course let me know your dos and don’ts here too! If you don’t agree and don’t follow me lets argue here!!

Maybe when I update the How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results book I should put in a chapter about teaching people manners?!

Can We Really Trust the BBC to Bring us Real Experts?

The BBC recently used male “experts” to discuss breast cancer and teenage pregnancy. Just read this article courtesy of the Guardian.  So, they asked women who had breast cancer, survivors, people who had been through treatment, women who had advised on treatment? Sort of, for anecdotal evidence. The report on breast cancer being discussed was on distress and impact. On whom? Women! Yet a man was interviewed about it? For the teenage pregnancy piece it asked a young woman who had a child when a teenager, a mother of a pregnant teenager, a woman at least? Nope. A man. So of course they had great insight. NOT.  Caroline Criado-Perez writes a really interesting article here about the BBC’s messages it gives out on experience and expertise.

Stop making excuses BBC
BBC makes excuses for not having female experts. Ludicrous

How on EARTH can a man know what it is like to be a woman? Never mind one with breast cancer. How on EARTH can a man put himself in the position of a teenage girl never mind one who is pregnant? Any sensible man asked to do that would laugh in the questioner’s face and say “Don’t be so ridiculous”.  Now, I am a great believer in the arts and the use of drama to teach just about anything (and that’s another worry for anyone who cares about education taking the arts out of the Ebacc) and so believe role play is very important in getting people to empathise and all that. But seriously, that’s not what is going on here is it?! The opinion is being asked for by a so called expert in the field. It isn’t a lesson aimed at people sharing and learning from each other and seeing other people’s points of views is it?!

I don’t think there is any discussion to be had! It is quite simple. If you want an expert in a certain field, particularly one that requires experience and/or ability to empathise you don’t ask someone unable to do that however much knowledge they may have. It is insulting to all concerned.  It is quite ludicrous for the BBC to say that they were unable to find women. Criado-Perez and her co-founder, Catherine Smith founded The Women ‘s Room UK a site for women to register as experts for the media. Within 48 hours they had 40 people register. So the BBC couldn’t even put out a single Tweet? Rubbish. Why couldn’t they do that? Laziness? Stupidity? Apathy?  It’s not rocket science (bet they’d get a man to speak on that though!) Get me in that BBC on the Board I’d soon sort them all out I can tell you!

But seriously, it’s like my saying (point 8) that if you are a company selling to children/young people/families and you aren’t involving them in feedback and development then you are missing a trick and what about the people you don’t know you aren’t getting feedback from? (point 7) Similarly “Points of View” and focus groups have their limitations. The BBC needs to get ahead and involve its viewers more. The customers. If only the BBC was more innovative involving their customers! Is that too scary a thought for them? Perhaps we the customers know best and the BBC Powers That Be might be surprised by how much expert advice it gets.

I asked the question on a LinkedIn Q & A and someone thought that my saying that you need a female to answer questions on how a female feels about having breast cancer or be a female to understand being pregnant as a teenager made me prejudiced and offensive. I like to think of myself as unprejudiced and well I can certainly be offensive but I don’t believe that this point of view is either of those things!

What do you think are the reasons for such a shortage of female experts on the BBC?

So, if you are a woman or know a woman who is an expert in her field get them to register on The Women’s Room UK or indeed Find a TV Expert

May 2014 update. Well, given that I have appeared on the BBC a few times now regarding complaining and consumer rights I’m not sure whether that is an improvement or not?!

Scare the Trick or Treaters The Complaining Cow Way!

I put in “Ideas for really frightening children at Halloween” into Google images. Up came a picture of Amy Childs and one of Boris Johnson. So look out for them trick or treating and make sure you scare them away so they don’t come back!

Dress your dog up for Halloween to scare the kids away

Right, I don’t care if you think Halloween is great fun and a good opportunity to go round to people’s houses and let your kids annoy, inconvenience and scare people they don’t know. It’s begging okay? If you have friends with whom you have agreed for your child/ren to trick or treat with that is not. That is agreeing a game. Going round to people’s houses and asking for sweets and money is begging and that’s illegal did you know? Simples. So many of the kids that do go begging don’t even make an effort with their costume, so they are lazy as well. How many collect for charity? You do? Really? Where’s your ID and paperwork?

The kids round our way know that the witch lives at our house so don’t bother! The bull accidentally did a trick a few years ago. He told them to come back later when I was in. They did and I sent them away with “A don’t come begging at my door” still ringing in their ears as they went along their merry way. Good trick eh?

On a cautionary note joking aside don’t let your kids go to doors of people they don’t know because it is rude frankly. But if you must do it please please please go with them. 1) To stop them actually getting into trouble and 2) It’s not actually safe to let kids roam streets knocking on random doors you know! Some people won’t be told though… I used to run open access play schemes and children as young as five would be sent out on their own to play…

Link to a poster to say no to trick or treating if you want to be a bit more polite than me at The Diary of a Frugal Family blog.

On Facebook I asked for some ideas for frightening children. Here are some tame and less tame ones should you need some inspiration.

What do you think of this?!

1) Worm jelly
2) Push scary plastic hand through letterbox (with one finger missing optional)
3) Open door foaming at the mouth (milk shake or soap if you are feeling brave and shout “I have rabies”
4) Lie at the door under dark sheet and sit up and shout as the kids approach the door
5) Brussels wrapped up in foil and put in jelly
6) Race out of door dressed in white coat covered in fake blood and chainsaw in hand (blade not in there please!)
7) Let off fire extinguisher
8) Dress as the Black Reaper hidden in the darkness then just slowly appear as they walk towards the door
9) Dress your dog up like the picture
10) Cover onions in chocolate and put them on sticks
11) Put a sign up on the door saying “The Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3) Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging”.
Or perhaps the most frightening of all….
12) Get The Complaining Cow to open the door…

Please add to the list here!